non-violent non-sexist/racist children's TV/movies? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Our daughter is about 22m, and so far she has hardly seen any TV.  However, we don't want to make TV a forbidden or illusive thing, since we think it is totally fine in moderation, and so I've started looking for decent children's programming.  Since my daughter loves animals, I thought I could try starting with animal documentaries and/or animated movies about animal characters.  However, I've been pretty frustrated with what I can find on netflix (we don't have any actual TV, just access to TV/movies through netflix, itunes, and hulu) and so I was looking to purchase some other options, but I hate to do that when I can't see it first to vet it!  Here are my main issues with the kid's TV I've seen so far (this also crops up far more than one would imagine in books, but at least those I can read first!):

 

There is a ton of violence in kid's programming - not just physical violence, but people (or animals!) behaving in particularly nasty ways to one another, putting each other down, etc.  This drives me crazy.  I really don't want my daughter exposed to that at this age, and I certainly don't want her imitating it.  

 

There is also a ton of both overt and subtle sexism and racism in so many programs that I hadn't totally accounted for.  I don't want to expose my daughter to any program where traditional gender roles are repeatedly shown as the main or only model or where the main characters are mostly male, and I'm very uncomfortable with the way that characters from various groups on these programs often seem to reinforce one narrow stereotype of what people from that group are like.  I thought I could avoid a lot of this with animal shows, but they still seem to reinforce all the same societal norms as stories that involve people.  When she is older, I feel that we can talk about all of these things and teach her to enjoy stories while also being conscious of the presence of these kinds of bias, but right now I don't want any of these messages being instilled in her subconscious, especially since she will see it enough on the playground and out in the world!

 

I was hoping that some of you might have some suggestions for either TV shows or movies that might be avoid gender/race/ethnic sterotypes and also promote good non-violent healthy ways of relating to one another?  

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

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#2 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 06:08 PM
 
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Of the ones we watch I would recommend Dora the Explorer and Wonderpets.  Try your local library. 

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#3 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 06:34 PM
 
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Our 3 year old likes Kipper and Little Bear. Kipper is on streaming netflix, and Little Bear is free on Amazon if you have Prime (think you can find some episodes on YouTube, too). On Little Bear, the parents do fit into very traditional gender roles, but it has never seemed offensive to me for some reason.

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#4 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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We do blue's clues, and Yo Gabba Gabba. Blue's clues is about as mild as you can get. :) 


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#5 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 07:02 PM
 
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DD loves YoGabbaGabba. 


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#6 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 08:02 PM
 
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DD2 adores Wonderpets. It's had the odd side effect of causing my children to eat a lot of celery.

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#7 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 08:21 PM
 
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Winnie the Pooh (the old ones.)  

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#8 of 73 Old 11-25-2012, 10:31 PM
 
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Curious George on PBS (the recently-made ones) should fit what you're looking for.  It's a wonderful show.  You might try Sid the Science Kid in a few months...DS wasn't interested in that one until he was about 2.5.


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#9 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 04:24 AM
 
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Winnie the Pooh (the old ones.)  

 

Both of my kids loved the original Pooh bear videos. They also liked watching Zabu from Animal Planet - you should be able to get those on video or disc.

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#10 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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Little Bear is a hit here for the younger guy and we have David the Gnome on DVD which both my kids love love love 


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#11 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 08:27 AM
 
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You don't mention any concerns about the role of advertising, marketing, and commercialism revolving around children's programming. Is this a concern for you? Because it you are thinking seriously about the other matters I'd suggest reviewing the literature on this issue too. For me, this is one of the largest and more harmful issues of exposing a young child to most media. Very damaging.

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#12 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 09:13 AM
 
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You don't mention any concerns about the role of advertising, marketing, and commercialism revolving around children's programming. Is this a concern for you? Because it you are thinking seriously about the other matters I'd suggest reviewing the literature on this issue too. For me, this is one of the largest and more harmful issues of exposing a young child to most media. Very damaging.

I agree. For us, this is the very reason we tend to stay away from Dora, Disney, Spongebob, etc. It's the mass marketing around their shows that I cant stand, not the shows themselves. We dont see a lot of advertisments for things like Yo Gabba Gabba, Fraggle Rock (on netflix now!), and a lot of older shows. Plus, DD is not allowed to watch anything with commercials. I think commercials are way too fast paced and include SO much information in a tiny amount of time, which IMO is not great for little kids. 

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#13 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 09:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

You don't mention any concerns about the role of advertising, marketing, and commercialism revolving around children's programming. Is this a concern for you? Because it you are thinking seriously about the other matters I'd suggest reviewing the literature on this issue too. For me, this is one of the largest and more harmful issues of exposing a young child to most media. Very damaging.

 

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I agree. For us, this is the very reason we tend to stay away from Dora, Disney, Spongebob, etc. It's the mass marketing around their shows that I cant stand, not the shows themselves. We dont see a lot of advertisments for things like Yo Gabba Gabba, Fraggle Rock (on netflix now!), and a lot of older shows. Plus, DD is not allowed to watch anything with commercials. I think commercials are way too fast paced and include SO much information in a tiny amount of time, which IMO is not great for little kids. 

 YES to both of these posts!  We don't really do TV (exception for long car trips and one or two Sunday evenings per month) but when we do allow TV we stay away from any licensed characters and watch on TIVO or on DVD to avoid advertising.  I was sick one day and flipped the TV on for DS so I could get a bit of a break and was apalled at the commercials on Treehouse even!

 

My DS LOVES "Mghty Machines".  Not sure if your DD would be in to that type of thing, but he is facinated by what machines do and how they work.  No violence or gender roles there.  Maybe you can find something similar that suits your DD's interests (for example, Zoboomafo or another Kratt's brother's show if she is into animals.  I actually used to watch Zoboomafo!  The show is well done).


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#14 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 11:58 AM
 
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Oh, yeah - Zoboomafo is great. It's geared at little ones, but even dd1 likes it, and she's nine. Wild Kratts might be a little more violent (sort of) than you're looking for, though.

 

I agree about commercials. We don't watch any tv with commercials. I'm not crazy about all the cross marketing, but it doesnt' seem to have had a huge impact on my kids, despite watching Disney (dh loves Disney) and Dora and such.


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#15 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 01:22 PM
 
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DS loves Sesame Street and Shaun the Sheep, both of which are pretty nonviolent and show non-traditional gender roles.

 

We don't have real TV either, but there's tons of Sesame Street on youtube and Shaun at our local library.


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#16 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 05:03 PM
 
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I hear ya.  It's not easy to find good stuff...but it's out there. 

 

Things I've enjoyed with my son (whose attention span is too short to recommend any feature length films):

 

1.  How'd the Build That (educational videos about trucks and machinery).  I enjoy these myself, they're fascinating and appropriate for a broad range of ages.

 

2.  Scholastic does a bunch of video versions of favorite kids stories/books.  They're about 20 minutes long, and aimed at preschool age kids, but my toddler loves them.  I usually just check mine out from the library or occasionally find them at yard sales.

 

3.  The Richard Scarry ABC video.  I've never met a kid who didn't love this.  (features lots of animals).  Can't vouch for the newer TV show, I haven't seen it, but it may be good.  I wouldn't know.

 

4.  Baby Einstein.  Some are better than others.  My son likes certain ones a lot, others not so much.  My main gripe with these is yeah they're totally free of violence and fairly multicultural, but they feel like a bit like a toy commercial at times.  Oh, and the songs get totally stuck in your head.

 

5.  Tec the Tractor.  Kinda like Thomas, only live action, not animated (with a big talking red tractor).  Less annoying than Thomas, I actually enjoy watching this show.  It's Welsh though, and hard to come by.

 

6.  Kids123 (on Youtube).  Simple songs/animated videos--one guy with a guitar.  I think this guy's Australian.  Perfect for toddlers because they're simple, not overly busy, and quite educational.  Importantly for adult viewers, the songs are NOT annoying, like most of this kind of stuff.  And the characters are usually animals.

 

These are just a few things to get you started.  I recommend browsing the library for kids videos, they usually have the kinds of things that have stood the test of time.

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#17 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 06:36 PM
 
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... Fraggle Rock (on netflix now!), and a lot of older shows...

 

I love Fraggle Rock too.  The show covers a lot of social themes and has really nice music.  I highly recommend it.  Like others here, we also don't own TV so it has been really easy to choose what our children watch.  

 

I have the scholastic children story videos as well and my children really loved them when they were younger.  

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#18 of 73 Old 11-26-2012, 09:05 PM
 
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Classic sesame street is on netflix now.  Current day sesame street is not really to my liking (I must admit I have always disliked Elmo and can't get over the loss of Jim Henson)  but I LOVE the old stuff.  

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#19 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 12:33 AM
 
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Charlie and Lola is my current favorite, and there are many free episodes on YouTube. I also think Backyardigans is pretty good for preschool age kids, although the marketing for it is a little pushy. I think its very good w gender, though. And I play some old Sesame Street on YouTube for my little guy.

Also,as previous poster mentioned, those scholastic videos are great. We bought a boxed set of them from Costco at Xmas-time one year and LOVE them.

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#20 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 05:14 AM
 
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Oh, Sharon, Lois, and Bram's Elephant Show is awesome. 

 

It's where the skinna marinky dinky dink song came from, not from Barney like most people assume. (OMG, after years of my little sister being obsessed ith Barney I cannot tolerate that show). 


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#21 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 11:24 AM
 
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We tried Yo Gabba Gabba but, although I loved it, it was just too in-your-face flashy for DS (now 2 1/2). I think it's aimed at older kids, not toddlers. I worry about attention span problems when the image is flashing so quickly like it does on that show.

 

For something totally innocent, slow and sweet check out Bagpuss. It's an old children's program from Britain, made originally in the 60s I think. It is just so sweet! They're all on on You Tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ixjhmy9dtNE

 

Or, we also love the #1 German cartoon, called simply "The Mouse". Shaun the Sheep (also a show we like) was made as part of this show (in cooperation with BBC). Anyway the mouse cartoon is very simple and revolves around a mouse, a tiny elephant and a duck who are all friends. All are completely un-gendered. It consists of short snippets, about a minute each, and no words so don't worry about the language thing (it's German). It does have great orchestra music though as background sound. The themes are always solving problems creatively, helping your friends, friendship and working together. It's very sweet and incredibly cute. Look up "Die Sendung mit der Maus" on You Tube. Here's one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ecrETWNieRc&feature=related


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#22 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 11:39 AM
 
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We record Curious George from PBS channel. There was one episode though we deleted regarding scarey noises/shadows at night. Apart from that it's quite safe and not at all flashy nor overly stimulating.
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#23 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 12:31 PM
 
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What about Caillou? We like it because it's completely innocent and is actually meant for toddlers. There is gentle parenting, no propaganda, and nothing violent or alarming to worry about.
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#24 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 12:44 PM
 
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Pingu on Netflix is one my daughter really enjoys!
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#25 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 12:45 PM
 
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We do Mr. Rogers Neighborhood on Hulu and DS (2.5 yo) also really likes animal videos (Dogs 101, Cats 101, etc.) on animalplanet.com.
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#26 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 01:13 PM
 
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Quote:
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Classic sesame street is on netflix now.  Current day sesame street is not really to my liking (I must admit I have always disliked Elmo and can't get over the loss of Jim Henson)  but I LOVE the old stuff.  

 

I don't like current Sesame Street as well as the older stuff, but I can handle it, until Elmo's World comes on. His voice drives me nuts.

My kids all love the Abby's Flying Fairy School segments, though...even dd1, who is nine, finds it funny.


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#27 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 01:22 PM
 
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Pingu

Little Bear

Signing Time

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#28 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 01:26 PM
 
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I researched how parents can raise progressively minded kids and the article "See Baby Discriminate" in newsweek blew my mind and led me to look into what actually works vs. the "color blind" stereotyping is a social construct mentality. From the literature and research, sheltering doesn't work. Discussion does. Uncomfortable discussion. Like "everybody is equal" is gibberish unless you talk about differences vs. value judgements and equality versus diversity as real complex issues. I made a little video of discussion starters (older audience) that might be useful. It's on www.neoapprentice.com; tittle is "cultural identity".

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#29 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 02:19 PM
 
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Because a couple of people mentioned Shaun the Sheep, I thought I'd mention that my dh watched it with our 3 year old once and there was a segment that absolutely terrified her. Like, actually crying real tears, unable to speak terrified.

Granted, she seems to be quite sensitive to visual things, and is very impressionable (one reason we limit her tv/movie exposure), but upon seeing the segment myself, I could really understand why a little one would be scared. (The one that made her cry and run out of the room was called Supersize Timmy -- it's on YouTube if anyone's interested in seeing what I mean.)

 

DH of course felt terrible that it scared her. He watched a few more alone and said that he'd seen more parts that were a little violent/frightening. Just as a heads-up, since most of the show seems pretty innocuous and cute.

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#30 of 73 Old 11-27-2012, 03:11 PM
 
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Chiming in with Pocoyo.  Nice because the episodes are really short. 
 

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